Legislative Updates

Important Bills to Share with your Representatives

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MoCEP Representatives Return from 2014 L and A Conference

Representatives from MoCEP along with Emergency Medicine residents from Missouri and other Emergency Medicine physicians from around the country returned from a long and productive weekend in Washington, D.C.  During the meeting, we discussed issues important to Missouri physicians and learned what other chapters are doing to meet the current needs of their membership and their patients.  Below are some important bills that we urge you to contact your Senators and Representatives to support.

HR 3717 Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013

The bill helps to address shortcomings in psychiatric care by focusing mental health programs and resources on psychiatric care for patients and families in need of these services.  The bill improves research, data collection, and efficacy of existing mental health programs.  It also removes regulations that currently prohibit the same-day billing under Medicaid for treatment of physical and mental health for the same patient on the same day.  The bill gives states the option of receiving federal matching payments for the care of adult patients with mental illness and helps to fund inpatient and outpatient treatment beds with professional staff.

HR 36/S 961 Health Care Safety Net Enhancement Act of 2013

The bill encourages physicians and on-call specialists to continue to provide care under the EMTALA mandate.  The legislation addresses emergency care by deeming emergency and on-call physicians who provide EMTALA-related services as federal employees under the Public Health Safety Act for purposes of liability protection.  Physicians providing EMTALA-related care will be treated just as physicians that work at federal health clinics for the purposes of liability protection.  In addition to being beneficial for physicians, the legislation also aims to reduce defensive medicine and lower costs for our patients.

HR 1180/S 577 Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2013

This bill increases GME funding to increase the number of residency spots throughout the country.  We know there is a physician shortage that is only going to get worse in the near future.  Medical schools have increased their capacity to fix this problem; however, GME funding for residency spots has remained capped since 1997.  Specialties with defined shortages in physicians would be eligible for this funding.  This last year, 1000 US trained medical students did not have an available spot through the match.

HR 4015 Medicare Reimbursement

This bill repeals the SGR.  It passed through the House.  Hopefully we can continue to make progress on repealing the SGR.

HR 4080 Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act

The bill would support state and rural development of trauma systems.  In order to continue funding, the bill would need to be reauthorized by the end of the current fiscal year.

HR 4290/S 2154 Emergency Medical Services for Children

This is another bill that needs to be reauthorized by the end of the fiscal year to continue funding.  It helps to ensure emergency departments and ambulances have the equipment, supplies, and medications necessary to treat children and helps to develop pediatric treatment protocols.